Sometimes a song is so ahead of its time, you’ve got to keep it on ice for a few decades.
Take for example Radiohead’s new release “I Promise”, which debuted on BBC Radio 20 years after the release of arguably their most renowned album, OK Computer. The song, a melancholic ode to a devotion that can’t be swayed “even when you lock me out…even when the ship is wrecked”, was forgotten and presumably lost for years. But by some miracle it was recently unearthed, and it’s testament to the timeless nature of Radiohead’s genius that it strikes exactly the same chord years later.
Radiohead reportedly performed “I Promise” live as early as 1996, before the song eventually disappeared from set-lists and everyone’s conscience. The accompanying music video, by director Michal Marczak (All These Sleepless Nights, Fuck For Forest) is haunting, as it follows the isolation of an android head in transit.
It’s a feeling that Yorke, in an interview with Rolling Stone, explains how he felt during touring at that particular time. “The paranoia I felt at the time was much more related to how people related to each other. But I was using the terminology of technology to express it. Everything I was writing was actually a way of trying to reconnect with other human beings when you’re always in transit. That’s what I had to write about because that’s what was going on, which in itself instilled a kind of loneliness and disconnection.”
I Promise it’s worth putting on repeat.